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Vixen Exclusive: 'Single Ladies' Star Cassandra Freeman Talks Single Girl Advantages, TV Sitcoms and Her Relationship With Chris Rock!

Cassandra Freeman has been a familiar face onscreen as she's landed roles alongside Hollywood's most notorious actors for the past 8 years. Guest starring on last season's Single Ladies,  the actress is rejoining the delicious cast for the reprisal of her role as Morgan Hayes. Vixen sat down with the beautiful, comedic and vivacious star to get the scoop on life on set, the advantages to being single (in real life) and working alongside Denzel Washington and Chris Rock.

This season you’ve reprised your role as Morgan. What’s the set like with the other girls?
Well, we all had the experience last year on set together and it always feels like coming home to family. We’re all huggers and kissers. Lisa Ray is awesome, I always feel like she’s great at bringing stability. She’s like my guru, and makes me check myself.

Is there a real chemistry between you guys on set?
Yeah, for sure. We are there for hours on end so thank God its good chemistry—otherwise it’d be impossible to do a show like that.

And the cast wardrobes are amazing! That has to be the biggest perk to this entire project?
For sure! Now we have a new wardrobe stylist on the show, Anthony, he’s from Project Runway. He’s amazing, and if you see our wardrobes, it will take hours to go through everything. I always feel like I’m princess Barbie or something. It’s very much like Sex and the City on set.

How did you break into acting and getting the role in Single Ladies?
I’ve been acting since I was 15. I went to a great arts high school in Jacksonville, Florida. I auditioned there to be in the band, and I begged my dad to let me do acting for a year. And of course it turned into something I wanted to do after aciting in plays like For Colored Girls. I was like “oh my god, I should be doing this.” When I went to Florida State I never really got casted. I was like the maid in the Shakespeare play. And then I went off to NYU and got my masters in acting. I landed a spot in the film, Inside Man and things started taking off. As for Single Ladies—ultimately I’ve been auditioning since it started. I loved the script and to read it is amazing. Finally this role came up, and I didn’t even go in for it. I didn’t even get called in for it. Then out of the blue, my people are like “you have to go in tomorrow.” The producers specifically asked for me.

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With the influx of reality shows now, is it important to keep sitcoms like Single Ladies afloat?
Here’s the thing, we’re in the renaissance of great TV. I don’t think it’s a problem. Right now we have every network starting to promote scripted shows like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, everything is doing scripted series. I think networks are starting to see that it’s a great tool to push people and it’s great for propaganda and pushing your brand. For VH1, to do a show like Single Ladies is brilliant because we do have a lot of entertainers, and people that are current so it’s a good thing. I teach at Fordham, and I tell my students that whatever you value, is the content that you come out with. If you don’t like what you’re watching, turn the channel to another network. There’s something for everyone.

I've noticed that the ladies on the show make single life look fabulous, but in reality it isn’t all of the time. What do you think are advantages to being on your own?
Look.. I just got a new bed, and it is SO nice to sleep in the middle of my bed. There are a lot of great things, like I’m a person with a lot of energy, so it’s really fun for me to even go to parties by myself because I love the idea of meeting new people. I love meeting new men and women. You know with relationships, sometimes you have to check in, really take care of them. It’s so nice not having a parent! I’m currently single so I’m enjoying every bit of it!

What was your worst dating experience?
Okay so this was many years ago. But I went on a date, and I remember the guy asked me ahead of time and wanted to pick me up. It’s one of my rules and a really big deal for a guy to know where I live, so that usually doesn’t happen and I prefer to meet them. So I told him I will drive over to him, and then we get to his car and go out to eat and then we were supposed to head to the movies. But instead we went to Blockbusters (that lets you know how long ago that was) and I was flipping out. Like what? We’re going to watch movies in his house? I went along with it. So we get to his house and we watch the movie. I went to the bathroom and when I come out of the bathroom, I kid you not, he was BUTT NAKED—in a tiger G-string! I’m shocked and had to tell him he was really confused about what tonight was going to be about. He had an amazing body but that freaked me out. I ran out and never called him again.

That’s horrifying! Sorry that happened to you. When it comes to dating, is it okay for the woman to be the aggressor/initiator or more submissive?
I’ve been engaged many times, and women always ask me how did I get the ring. I’m the girl who gets proposed to, or the men are asking me on dates. And I think the reason is because I’m not necessarily out looking for a boyfriend. But even when the guy approaches me, it takes a lot. I think dudes approach girls more if they seem really uninterested.

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It’s always the women who aren’t putting themselves too much out there or not hard core hunting that land great relationships
Absolutely. And even if you’re going on dates with people, it’s not asking “when are we going out again?” Men are like lions, they want to go out and hunt. So if they see the thing they’re hunting for laying out on the ground, they are going to think something’s wrong.

You’ve worked with a lot of big names already—like Denzel Washington, Isaiah Washington and Chris Rock—who’s one male actor that you’d love to work with, particularly as a love interest?
Oh my goodness, that’s such a dangerous question! There’s so many people. I always feel bad saying it because I know certain people are married, but who wouldn’t love Blair Underwood, or Michael Ealy. Yumm!

And I read somewhere that Chris Rock actually encouraged you into doing standup comedy?
Yea for sure. After the I think I love my Wife movie, he was such an encourager and was like, “ Oh, you’re funny.” And I’m like brushing it off, then he goes, “ no you’re like really funny.” So I said “Really?” and it took me a minute to process that Chris Rock, one of the biggest comedic figures of our time, told me I’m funny. I should do something with it. So I went and did it, and it was great. I just couldn’t keep up doing standup because I didn’t understand the lifestyle of it. Like if I’m supposed to keep doing the same jokes. I didn’t get it.

What are some other projects we can catch you involved with?
I’m actually working on my own web series. I need a place to release all of my Lucille Ball-ness. It’s called "12 Months of June." It’s about a girl, she’s a lawyer, an intern, but really she’s having a midlife crisis and realizes that maybe she’d be happier if she was a life coach. She thinks she’s Tony Robins or Oprah, but she’s really bad at it. And all the people that she gives life coaching too don’t really need it. So it’s following her on her journey of figuring it out. Really funny.

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.

 

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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby https://t.co/gl3b64Omtj

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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Kim Kardashian is seen on February 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Kim Kardashian Credited For Making Crimped Hair Cool Like Beyonce, Janet Jackson And Naomi Campbell Don't Exist

Spring is nothing without doses of cultural appropriation from those out of touch with black culture.

Insert Vogue, who decided to give props to Kim Kardashian for bringing back crimped hair on Friday (March 15). The businesswoman has been on the move lately, rocking a mix of kanekalon and yaki ponytails during fashion month, Chance The Rapper's wedding and other Kardashian-related events.

“What makes this look so modern is that the front is sleek,” explained her stylist Justine Marjan. “This gives a cool contrast to the texture.”

The texture? 

With many trends from the aughts coming back to the mainstream, this is one that hasn't really gone anywhere. But black beauty markers (layered gold chains, perfect baby hairs, name chains) paired with media ignorance and the Kardashian's own fascination with black culture has made it okay for her to receive all the props.

But we can't forget those who have slayed kanekalon, yaki and crimped styles like...

Janet Jackson

The singer's look for her comeback has been a uniform-like one, with Ms. Jackson rocking all black and her now signature ponytail.

Beyoncé

This. was. last. year. How could anyone forget this? The entertainer rocked various styles of kanekalon hair for Beychella.

There was also this amazing look at Serena Williams' wedding.

 

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:01am PST

Ruth E. Carter

The Oscar-winning designer made the look all her own while on the red carpet for Black Panther. 

Nicki Minaj

Fans of the rapper are aware her early looks included fun crimped and wavy styles. When she made to move to ditch her color wigs in 2014, she's kept the crimped styles close to her heart.

And we cannot forget about our queen, Naomi Campbell

She's owned the look her whole career, from the runway to the red carpet, Ms. Campbell has always been on the forefront of casual beautiful looks.

Social media also got wind of Vogue's post, including actor O'Shea Jackson who like many of us, is just over it.

Maaaaaaan come on now. Come ooooon now. Bringing it back? Vogue stop this https://t.co/FEGSw3GM9V

— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) March 15, 2019

https://twitter.com/SassySouthpaw20/status/1106642402448732160

https://twitter.com/riridotxo/status/1106924628851728384

Perhaps there's a bit of truth of the theories of fashion outlets trolling readers but this just deserves a permanent eye roll.

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'Boomerang' Episode 6 Recap: Homecoming

On this episode of BET’s Boomerang, the love story between Bryson and Simone begins with a flashback to their freshman year of college. After several years of not seeing one another since their childhood, Bryson is shocked to see a slick-back pony-tail wearing Simone insert herself into his class during a presentation. Nothing has changed with her. Even pre-bob and with Bryson rocking a sharp Steve Harvey-like hairline, even from their younger days, they have always been the dynamic duo of marketing strategy. The product featured this week: Pro-Black T-Shirts.

The devastation of not having his secret love in his life spills over into their sophomore year when a beanie-wearing David and Crystal are happy in their fake hood love. By this time, a rapper named Prisoner has all of Simone’s attention and this makes Bryson big mad. The man can’t even hide it. In an apparent fit of jealousy, he calls Simone out for living under her father’s shadow, in front of everyone. It’s safe to say that sophomore Bry struck out badly.

This isn’t just about Simone and Bryson; they’re not the only ones who’ve made transformations over the years (and I’m not just talking about their hair ‘dos). In his earlier life, Ari was less eccentric and more focused on making his family proud as a young black man in college who isn’t running on BPT for class. Ari was as straight as 180 when he’s first put into a situation where he’s forced to confront his sexual identity. As big and bad as he looked while working as a “rough & tough” bouncer at a nightclub, a flirtatious patron sees right through that persona.  After being charmed by the man who helps him realize self, the rainy night sets the tone for a steamy kiss between the two in the front seat of Ari’s car. The look on Ari’s face is a blend of fear, then relief, then ultimately bliss as he seemingly reminisces on his random but welcomed encounter. Although he enjoyed it, Ari didn’t seem to embrace his identity totally. That same year, we see a less hood-David changing more into the Christian we now know and Ari isn’t buying it. Something about this “we can do all things in Christ mentality” rubs him the wrong way. Facing one’s true self is tough.

Junior year, Bryson has a much better barber but things haven’t changed; he’s still checking for Simone. She and Prisoner are still dating if you want to call it that. Prisoner is the type of dude you’d expect to see Simone date in college. He’s flashy, has money, probably doesn’t even go to the school, and he’s rude AF. As Simone and Bryson reconnect for the two millionth time, Prisoner’s pimp tone telling Simone to hurry up is a strong indication he’s not here for their friendship. In analyzing the hair, it’s clear that Simone is not herself. Seriously, at this point, she’s rocking a glueless lace wig.

With her new hairstyle, she realizes that she made the mistake of loving a man more than herself. Prisoner is officially a dub. To celebrate her revelation, she finds herself drunkenly wining and grinding on her childhood bae, Bryson. Does this look familiar? Well, think back to last week when they were doing the same in the parking lot before 5-0 arrived. Because she couldn’t hold it, Simone ends up using Bryson’s bathroom which leads to a very sober thoughts-type of conversation in the bedroom. It is recognized that Bryson has always had a thing for the kid and Simone regrets that she never said anything about her feelings. His commandeering attitude (like the day she walked into his class freshman year) reminded her of the Different World “Strangers on a Plane” episode. It was an iconic one because it’s where Dwayne and Whitley’s love story began. That’s a telling comparison.

With that being said, Simone always felt Bryson was the Dwane to her Whitley. Unfortunately, the timing was always off and just when we think the two finally catch up to one another, cue: the vomit. Poor Bryson. Did someone do brujeria on this kid? He has the worst luck. But, like the gentleman he is, he takes care of his queen to make sure she’s all comfy in her drunken slumber. He whispers, “I love you Simone Graham,” but on the wake up it looks like sis suffers from sudden amnesia. She pulls the “best friend” card, making it clear that it’s friend zone from here on out. Prisoner’s trifling friend calls to offer to take Simone out to eat and in an act of “let me solidify that Bryson knows this is going nowhere,” Simone agrees to go out with her ex's friend. Once again, a blue-balled Bryson is left sorting out his feelings that Simone continues to perpetually confuse.

It’s important to note that the story of Brymone is not a new one. We’ve seen it in many action movies, comic book flicks, and on “Strangers on a Plane” where the geeky male character is overlooked by the badass female, only to win her affection in the end. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but in Bryson’s case, could it possibly be heading in that direction and is Simone even the heroine worth winning? In browsing through what is essentially the best years of any young adult’s life, Simone had many times to figure out if Bryson was the one for her and yet she chose to ignore her feelings. Unlike David, it’s not like she found Jesus; she hasn’t yet found herself.

One thing she does know is that she cannot lose Bryson because it’s possible she may love and need him more than she’d like to verbally admit. He’s no Prisoner or no flashy member of the entourage. He’s the “gentleman who wears tuxedos and makes sure his homegirl is safe” type of dude and unfortunately, that isn’t one Simone is interested in, for now.

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